Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Big Pharma: Even Worse Than Used Cars as a Market for Lemons?

Big Pharma: Even Worse Than Used Cars as a Market for Lemons?

Courtesy of Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism 

Fruit at market

Some readers have wondered why this blog from time to time runs posts on the US health care system. Aside from the fact that it’s a major public policy problem in America, it is also a prime example of bad incentives, information asymmetry, and corporate predatory behavior. It thus makes for an important object lesson.

Reader Francois T pointed to an example, a commentary on a paper presented by Donald Light at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, “Pharmaceuticals: A Two-Tiered Market for Producing ‘Lemons’ and Serious Harm.” It still appears to be embargoed, but Howard Brody provides an extensive summary on his blog.

Light uses George Akerlof “market for lemons” as a point of departure. For those not familiar with the famed Akerlof paper, a “market for lemons” can occur when consumers are unable to distinguish product quality. The used car market is the paradigm, since the dealer has a much better idea than the buyer of whether a particular car is any good. Unscrupulous operators can stick a lot of hapless chump customers with overpriced clunkers. However, as crooked vendors become more common, buyers wise up a tad and are not longer to pay as much for cars they cannot evaluate. So while the prices buyers are now willing to pay are probably still too high for rattletraps, they are too low for decent cars. People with good merchandise start to look for other channels. Akerlof posits that the market eventually falls apart.

Note that used cars dealers did not set out to create lemons; the cars were bad deals by being overpriced (presumably, if they had been presented, warts and all, they still would have found purchasers, presumably people who thought they could repair them and those who wanted them for parts and scrap). Light contends, by contrast, that major pharmaceutical companies create bad products:

[T]he pharmaceutical market for ‘lemons,’ differs from other markets for lemons in that companies develop and produce the lemons. Evidence in this paper indicates that the production of lemon-drugs with hidden dangers is widespread and results from the systematic exploitation of monopoly rights and the production of partial, biased information about the efficacy and safety of new drugs…Companies will design and run their clinical


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Another Safety Issue: Can Toyota Ever Bounce Back?

Another Safety Issue: Can Toyota Ever Bounce Back?

By Joseph R. Szczesny, courtesy of TIME 

A Toyota dealership advertises a 0% interest rate on the windshield of an unsold 2010 Toyota Matrix in Lakewood, Colo.

David Zalubowski / AP

The flood of recalls — nearly 9 million vehicles in the past 12 months — and reams of nasty publicity involving runaway cars and unintended acceleration seemed finally to have abated for the beleaguered automaker Toyota. Then, on Tuesday, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) said it was intensifying its investigation into another potential Toyota safety issue: sudden-stalling problems on its Corolla and Matrix models.

This new NHTSA move, a formal engineering investigation of the Matrixes and Corollas from model years 2005 to ’07, stems from more than 1,000 complaints that have been received by Toyota and the NHTSA. It could possibly lead to another major round of recalls if mechanical or electrical problems are found. (See the 50 worst cars of all time.)

The investigation is just the latest in a barrage of challenges — and heavy damage — to the once gilt-edged reputation of the world’s top automaker. While solidly profitable during the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, the company still has a way to go before it can repair that reputation. "They are still a successful company, they just aren’t on a pedestal anymore," says Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Global Insight.

"This controversy has damaged our reputation," acknowledges Toyota spokesman John Hanson, referring to the sudden-acceleration issue. But it’s about more than just reputation: Toyota faces liability claims over incidents that have been blamed for 79 deaths and hundreds of crashes.

Earlier in August, Toyota executives were heartened to receive a report from the NHTSA that the agency hadn’t found any evidence that faulty electronics played a role in sudden-acceleration accidents, and instead suggested driver error…
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Corporate Rotten Eggs

Robert Reich suggests creating a "national database of corporate crimes and settlements" to help regulators keep track of corporations that have a history of disregarding safety concerns.  As long as the fines for individual violations is less than the profits realized in the course of business, there is no incentive for these corporations to clean up their act.  To do that, the penalties need to be exceed the rewards and inflict some real pain on the corporation, owners, managers and shareholders. This is particularly important with serial offenders because the culture of the company does not change as a result of minor fines, just as the sociopathic nature of hard core criminals does not get cured by a three month stay in prision. – Ilene 

Corporate Rotten Eggs

PICTURED IS A CRACKED, UNCOOKED EGG, SHOWING THE YOLK AND THE WHITE, OR ALBUMEN, OF THE HEN'S EGG. CRACKED UNCOOKED EGG SHOWING YOLK AND WHITE

Courtesy of Robert Reich 

There are rotten apples in every industry. Or perhaps I should say rotten eggs.

One especially rotten egg is Jack DeCoster, whose commercial egg agribusiness, which goes under the homey title “Wright County Egg,” headquartered in Galt, Iowa, sends eggs all over the country under many different brands. Those eggs have now laid low thousands of Americans with salmonella poisoning, and may well infect thousands more.

DeCoster is recalling 380 million eggs sold since mid-May. Another commercial egg company, also headquartered in Iowa, and in which DeCoster is a major investor, is recalling hundreds millions more.

It’s not clear how rotten eggs are recalled. They’re not like Toyotas. They’re already in our food supply. 

But this is only the beginning of the story.  

Thirteen years ago when I was Secretary of Labor, DeCoster agreed to pay a $2 million penalty (the most we could throw at him) for some of the most heinous workplace violations I’d seen. His workers had been forced to live in trailers infested with rats and handle manure and dead chickens with their bare hands. It was an agricultural sweatshop.

Several people in Maine told me the fine wouldn’t stop DeCoster. He’d just consider it a cost of doing business. Evidently they were right. DeCoster’s commercial egg business has a record that would make a repeat offender blush.

In 2003, DeCoster pleaded guilty to knowingly hiring undocumented immigrants (who don’t complain about unsafe working conditions, below-minimum-wage pay, and unsanitary facilities). DeCoster paid a record $2.1 million penalty for that one.

In the 1990s he was charged by…
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BP Pressured Worker, 30-Year Old Playbook Response

BP Pressured Rig Worker to Hurry Before Disaster, Father Says

Oiled Guillimot after Empress oil spill,West Wales

By Joe Carroll and Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg

May 28 (Bloomberg) — The highest-ranking crew member to perish aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig warned his family that BP Plc was pressuring him to sacrifice safety for the sake of time and money, his father said.

Jason Anderson, one of 11 rig workers presumed dead after an April 20 explosion and fire sank the Deepwater Horizon and triggered the worst oil spill in U.S. history, told relatives in February and March that BP was urging him to accelerate work on the Macondo well off the Louisiana coast, said his father, Billy Anderson.

On previous wells drilled with the same rig, Jason Anderson, a 35-year-old employee of vessel owner Transocean Ltd., had been able to convince BP representatives to eschew shortcuts that he believed would compromise safety, his father said. But in the eight weeks preceding the disaster, BP stepped up the pressure and overruled safety objections, Billy Anderson, 66, said.

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BP Using 30 Year-Old Playbook in Responding to Oil Spill? 

Washington’s Blog

Preface for my conservative readers: Yes, I know … Maddow is very liberal. But her claims are either true or they are not true. Let’s focus on her claims. If anyone can refute them, let me know, and I’ll post a retraction.

Rachel Maddow claims that a top kill type maneuver – pumping in cement and saltwater – was tried during the giant 1979 Ixtoc oil spill, but didn’t work.

Maddow also says:

  • The precursor to the same company operating the Deepwater Horizon drilling well – Transocean – operated the Ixtoc rig
  • The cause of both oil spills was the same: a malfunctioning blowout preventer
  • The location of the spill was the same: the Gulf
  • The sizes of both spills were massive
  • A "top hat" operation was attempted unsuccessfully. During the Ixtoc spill, it was named


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Zero Hedge

Rabobank: Is It Possible The Fed Is So Stupid It Doesn't Understand What It Is Doing

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

By Michael Every of Rabobank

Warning: May contain crisis

I am lucky in that I don’t have a serious food allergy, such as to peanuts. I fully grasp just how dangerous these can be to those that unfortunately do, and why we need clear food labels to show if there is even a trace of nuts. Having said that, I always find it ironic that when I get given the standard packet of peanuts on a plane, it is labelled: “Warning: may contain nuts”. Are there people who might not know that peanuts contain nuts? Appa...



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Phil's Favorites

The Martian

 

The Martian

Courtesy of Scott Galloway, No Mercy/No Malice@profgalloway

I often write about platforms (iOS, Amazon Marketplace, etc.) as they are a source of value creation and power. The platform of unprecedented wealth creation is the free market of capitalism. The global adoption of markets has corresponded with the greatest expansion of prosperity in human history. But similar to tech platforms, free markets are neither naturally occurring nor immune to collapse. The “free” market can fail.

Live from New York

This Saturday at 11:29 pm ET, we’ll witness the lat...



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Digital Currencies

NFTs are much bigger than an art fad - here's how they could change the world

 

NFTs are much bigger than an art fad – here's how they could change the world

Homes fit for zeroes (and ones). Julien Tromeur

Courtesy of James Bowden, University of Strathclyde and Edward Thomas Jones, Bangor University

Sotheby’s has become the latest establishment name in art to dive into NFTs (non-fungible tokens) through its collaboration with anonymous ...



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Biotech/COVID-19

India COVID crisis: four reasons it will derail the world economy

 

India COVID crisis: four reasons it will derail the world economy

India is the fifth largest economy in the world. Deepak Choudhary/Unsplash

Courtesy of Uma S Kambhampati, University of Reading

The second wave of the pandemic has struck India with a devastating impact. With over 300,000 new cases and 3,000 deaths across the country each day at present, the total number of deaths has just passed the 200,000 mark – that’s about one in 16 of all COVID deaths across the world....



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Chart School

Yellen can not stop the dollar decline

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Printing money results in a lower currency, so long as the currency does not fall too fast.

Previous Post: US Dollar Forecast - Weakness

Here are the very strong fundamentals for a lower US dollar: 

(a) US inflation exploding.
(b) Massive US twin deficits.
(c) Better conditions in Europe.

However French election worries in 2022 Q1 and Q2 may provide US dollar strength (via European weakness) after Christmas, but this strength may come after a low in the DXY near $84.  

It looks like Yellen knows a down swing in the US dollar is near because ...

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Politics

If China's middle class continues to thrive and grow, what will it mean for the rest of the world?

 

If China's middle class continues to thrive and grow, what will it mean for the rest of the world?

Over the past few decades, hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens have become part of the middle class. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Courtesy of Amitrajeet A. Batabyal, Rochester Institute of Technology

China’s large and impressive accomplishments over the past four decades have spurred scholars and politicians to debate whether the decline of the West – including the ...



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ValueWalk

Managing Investments As A Charity Or Nonprofit

By Anna Peel. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Maintaining financial viability is a constant challenge for charities and nonprofit organizations.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The past year has underscored that challenge. The pandemic has not just affected investment returns – it’s also had serious implications for charitable activities and the ability to fundraise. For some organizations, it’s even raised doubts about whether they can continue to operate.

Finding ways to generate long-term, sustainable returns for ...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Will Historic Selloff In Treasury Bonds Turn Into Opportunity?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

Long-dated treasury bonds have been crushed over the past year, sending ETFs like TLT (20+ Year US Treasury Bond ETF) spiraling over 20%.

Improving economy? Inflation concerns? Perhaps a combination of both… interest rates have risen sharply and thus bond prices have fallen in historic fashion.

Today’s chart looks at $TLT over the past 20 years. As you can see, the recent decline has truly been historic. $TLT’s price has swung from historically overbought highs to oversold lows.

At present, the long-dated bond ETF ($TLT) is trading 7.8% below its 200-...



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Mapping The Market

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

 

Suez Canal: Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

Courtesy of Marcus Lu, Visual Capitalist

The Suez Canal: A Critical Waterway Comes to a Halt

On March 23, 2021, a massive ship named Ever Given became lodged in the Suez Canal, completely blocking traffic in both directions. According to the Suez Canal Authority, the 1,312 foot long (400 m) container ship ran aground during a sandstorm that caused low visibility, impacting the ship’s navigation. The vessel is owned by Taiwanese shipping firm, Evergreen Marine.

With over 2...



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Promotions

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar - March 10, 2021

Don't miss our latest weekly webinar! 

Join us at PSW for LIVE Webinars every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 PM EST.

Phil's Stock World's Weekly Webinar – March 10, 2021

 

Major Topics:

00:00:01 - EIA Petroleum Status Report
00:04:42 - Crude Oil WTI
00:12:52 - COVID-19 Update
00:22:08 - Bonds and Borrowed Funds | S&P 500
00:45:28 - COVID-19 Vaccination
00:48:32 - Trading Techniques
00:50:34 - PBR
00:50:43 - LYG
00:50:48 - More Trading Techniques
00:52:59 - Chinese Hacks Microsoft's E...



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The Technical Traders

Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling System Suggests Market Peak May Be Near

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Our Adaptive Fibonacci Price Modeling system is suggesting a moderate price peak may be already setting up in the NASDAQ while the Dow Jones, S&P500, and Transportation Index continue to rally beyond the projected Fibonacci Price Expansion Levels.  This indicates that capital may be shifting away from the already lofty Technology sector and into Basic Materials, Financials, Energy, Consumer Staples, Utilities, as well as other sectors.

This type of a structural market shift indicates a move away from speculation and towards Blue Chip returns. It suggests traders and investors are expecting the US consumer to come back strong (or at least hold up the market at...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia - The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

 

Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia – The Branch COVIDIANS Are Still Burning Down the House

Courtesy of Lee Adler, WallStreetExaminer 

The numbers of new cases in some of the hardest hit COVID19 states have started to plateau, or even decline, over the past few days. A few pundits have noted it and concluded that it was a hopeful sign. 

Is it real or is something else going on? Like a restriction in the numbers of tests, or simply the inability to test enough, or are some people simply giving up on getting tested? Because as we all know from our dear leader, the less testing, the less...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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